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Cablegate: Chinese Unpopular with Suriname Press: "Chinese

VZCZCXRO9466
RR RUEHGR
DE RUEHPO #0610/01 3331914
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 291914Z NOV 07
FM AMEMBASSY PARAMARIBO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 9824
INFO RUCNCOM/EC CARICOM COLLECTIVE
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 0139
RUEHAO/AMCONSUL CURACAO 1202
RUEHIN/AIT TAIPEI 0025

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 PARAMARIBO 000610

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

WHA/CAR FOR JACKIE ROSHOLT, INR FOR BOB CARHART

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PGOV NS CH TW
SUBJECT: CHINESE UNPOPULAR WITH SURINAME PRESS: "CHINESE
INVASION?"

REF: A. PARAMARIBO 297
B. PARAMARIBO 305
C. PARAMARIBO 315
D. PARAMARIBO 346
E. PARAMARIBO 441

PARAMARIBO 00000610 001.2 OF 002


1. (SBU) SUMMARY: The Surinamese media is severely biased
against Chinese immigrants to Suriname, Chinese products, and
China as a political presence. Privately editors and
journalists commented bluntly, "I don't like the Chinese."
The newspapers are to a degree beholden to the Chinese,
however, as they own many of the shops where newspapers are
sold. The press's yellow journalism tactics provide
counterpoint to the eager acceptance of Chinese friendship by
the Government of Suriname (GOS). This cable continues a
series (refs) on China and its presence and influence in
Suriname in 2007. END SUMMARY

-------------------
"Chinese Invasion?"
-------------------

2. (U) Surinamese newspapers frequently run stories and
editorial content critical of the ethnic Chinese presence in
Suriname. Most is directed toward the so-called "new
Chinese," recent immigrants who run hundreds of small corner
shops across Suriname, who are accused of obtaining through
corrupt means residence and business permits more quickly
than Surinamese citizens. In 2007, Suriname's four
newspapers carried numerous disapproving editorial pieces,
much of it focusing on the idea that Suriname will be taken
over -- economically, linguistically, or politically -- by
the Chinese. Titles include "Suriname for the Surinamers"
and "Chinese Invasion or Not?" Editorialists pledged to be
"watchful" and "alert" regarding the Chinese community,
compared the Chinese presence to that of Jews in Germany
before World War II, and commented "I think I'll just learn
to speak Mandarin, the future language of Suriname." The
image of Suriname as a colony of China was rampant.

--------------------------------------------
"Congratulations for Human Rights Violators"
--------------------------------------------

3. (U) Surinamese papers maintained a steady drumbeat of
criticism of the Chinese government, its embassy in Suriname,
and the government of Suriname (GOS) -- which was painted as
a weak-kneed, opportunist lackey of the Chinese. The
headline "Congratulations for Human Rights Violators,"
printed after the GOS sent congratulations to China on the
opening of its 2007 party congress, is an example of typical
editorial sarcasm. Another paper reacted to GOS support for
the One-China Policy in an editorial titled "Development
Without a Human Face," writing, "sometimes you ask yourself
if your own government isn't a guest in your own country."
When the GOS firmly refused Taiwanese aid, the press accused
the Chinese Ambassador of whispering how to handle the matter
in the ear of the Vice-President, and the embassy of
"diplomatic intimidation." While China was occasionally
praised for its rapid development, this was outweighed by
criticism of its human rights record.

-------------------
"Slant Eyed" "Junk"
-------------------

4. (U) In the latter half of 2007, press ire focused on
Chinese products that were internationally criticized for
their quality. A glut of articles were published, out of
proportion to the danger created by the products. One paper
printed a satirical story titled "A Chinese Day," whose
protagonist encounters "slant-eyed" bugs, monsters, and women
who emerge from Chinese products and leave him in the
hospital. An editorial on the donation of European fire
fighting equipment tangentially quipped "luckily it is not
junk from the People's Republic of China." An editorial
cartoon appeared with a happy, stereotypically Chinese
restaurant owner thinking of money while hanging food next to
a dead rat in a garbage area.

--------------------------------------
"I Don't Like Them..." But I Need Them
--------------------------------------

5. (SBU) In private conversation, reporters and editors are
more blunt than their newspaper content. When talking about

PARAMARIBO 00000610 002.2 OF 002


trafficking in persons, one reporter, unprompted, brought up
the Chinese issue to PolOff and said, "to be honest, I don't
like them." Others have made similar comments. According to
the editors of two other newspapers, their content would be
even more critical if allowed. Since newspapers are often
sold in Chinese shops, the papers' owners need to protect
their sales. The editor of a prominent daily owned by an
influential businessman with political aspirations told
PolOff the only time the owner had ever influenced his
editorial content was when the paper criticized the Chinese;
the owner feared his products would be boycotted by the
Chinese shop owners. The owner of a second paper told PolOff
a Chinese business association in Suriname had threatened him
with a boycott, so he had reduced the critical editorial
content.

6. (SBU) COMMENT: While the GOS cozying up to China despite
its poor human rights and environmental record is
disheartening, the blame leveled by the press on ethnic
Chinese for many of the nation's problems is borderline
racist. Suriname's poorly integrated "new Chinese"
immigrants are used by the press as an "internal foreign
enemy" -- following the time honored tradition of yellow
journalism around the globe -- and serve as one medium to
unite the multiethnic Surinamese together. As China
continues to expand economically, politically, and
demographically, the dichotomous reactions of Suriname's
needy government and threatened public may present an example
of conflicts ahead. END COMMENT
SCHREIBER HUGHES

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